Friday, 15 January 2016

#*!!#***## Comcast ............................ and a visitor to my home today

On many recent days (sometimes three times a day)  Verizon's FIOS has been urging me via a Facebook posting to hurry up and to claim my $400 bonus.

I am sceptical about such bonuses.  But that's beside the point.  FIOS  is not available in my community.  So much for a Communications Company.

We are stuck with #*!!#***## Comcast.

The Condo. Association has a "deal" with Comcast, so basic cable T.V. service is included in our monthly Association charge.

I have to pay extra for WiFi.    Comcast chooses to increase their bill for this every darn year, despite the fact that there are no additional services, no improvement in performance, (and inflation is next to nothing).

I wrote them last year to ask why my charge had increased, but of course I did not receive a reply. (So much for another Communications Company).   This year the increase was $2 per month, with no explanation as to why.   Now I pay $66.65 per month, for WiFi only.

(It would be cheaper, but less convenient, if I walked to my local McDonald's once a day to use their free WiFi and paid $1.09 for a medium coffee).

Of course in this case the myth of the "free market" is exposed.  There is no free market when there is a local monopoly.

#*!!#***## Comcast.


I paid nothing
for the beauty of a visitor who came to my home to rest for a while today.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

And there are sad days.

Some may remember that I have written about my near neigbours Bertil (Bert) and Pauline (Polly) Johnson.

They have spent the winters here, and the summers in Fishers, IN  (near Indianapolis).

I had grown to be very fond of them  and, surprisingly enough, my dog Penne and their cat Daisy bonded in an unusual canine/feline way.

Each summer I wondered if Bert and Polly would be strong enough to take the return trip to SRQ for the winter months, so much so that a few years ago their son David and I shared 'phone numbers so that we could be in touch in the event of an emergency.

Despite the deep concerns of David and his sister, Bert and Polly came back to SRQ on Thanksgiving 2014.

Bert was increasingly frail (but always utterly gentle and cheerful). Polly's short term memory was all but gone, though she  loved to share narratives from way back when.

Within a few weeks of their return to SRQ  it became very clear that they were unable to sustain an unsupported life.

Their children wisked them (and Daisy) back to Indiana.

Last Tuesday Bert sustained a fall. His injuries were not life threatening, but whilst in the hospital his heart gave way, and he passed from this life.

There are times when Polly comprehends this, there are times when she does not understand,


Of course I knew that the time would come when I would no longer see Bert and Polly.

But Bert's death has made me sad.   He was a "gentleman" in every way. He was appropriately proud of his Swedish heritage,  deeply devoted to Polly, and utterly delighted with his son and his daughter.

His funeral will be on Saturday at a Lutheran Church in Indianapolis.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Being happy for the joy of other people - it sweetens life.

Back in 1999 I spent a week at the Taize Community in Burgundy, France,


I was there, by happenstance, with my Diocese of Western Massachusetts colleague Mark Beckwith (now the Bishop of Newark, N.J.)

Although the food at the Taize Community is only a few notches above abominable, the deep experience of the palpable presence of God was glorious.

The mission of the Taize Community is to  young adults aged 18-35.  We older folks ate, slept, and joined in small groups in a distinct area, It  was clear that we were there under a rubric of gracious sufferance -  and that was all to the good.

Of course both young and old shared in prayer and worship at the daily services,

The old ones also got to mix with the 18-35 age group at the late afternoon snack time.

At one of those snack times I observed a group of teen aged Germans as they played with "Devil Sticks" see

I grinned from ear to ear as I watched the sheer joy of one of these young Germans.

It "happened" that at the end of the week, as I walked toward the parking area I saw this young man as he moved with his parents to their car,

I asked "is this your son?"  "Yes' said the parents,

I told them the story of my deep pleasure when I watched their son play with the "devil sticks"..

 Goodness gracious that made them so happy.  And the son grinned from ear to ear!

Their joy  made me so happy,


A new fracquaintance (John)  moved to this area in 2015 to be with his partner (and now spouse) Rick.

John and Rick recently took a cruise out of Tampa -  a first for both of them.

I saw John and Rick last Monday.  John was bubbling with joy and pleasure -  he had enjoyed his first cruise so much,

On Tuesday morning I bumped into Rick and John as they walked their four  dogs,  (Rick has two standard poodles - Louis and Vuitton,  John has two Black Labs - Anne and Katie.)

John was still grinning from ear to ear.  He was buoyant and boyish about his first Caribbean cruse.

His joy made me so happy.


Bob and Virgina are a nonagenarian couple who have been married for 67 years. They live nearby,  I encounter them most mornings on my  \second walk with Penne.

As I saw them at a distance this morning my heart/soul/mind combined to to make me smile.

I was smiling  because I know that Virginia and  Bob have learned to be content.

We talked about this. 

Virginia and Bob were very "chuffed" to hear my affirmation of their commitment and contentment.


Contentment is a gift,  

It is also  a learned  behaviour 

Monday, 11 January 2016

It starts at 8:30 p.m.

8:30 p.m. is my usual bedtime.

Once the lights are out my two cats conspire.

First they lay low for a while, until they hear my snores.

Then they engage in all manner of pre-planned chases around my home.  The chases are designed to knock over brooms, push folders off my desk, try to get into the trash pail, search for any garbage which I've not placed outside,  kick up a storm in their litter boxes, knock over anything that can possibly be knocked over,

What nocturnal fun,

Then, at 4:30 a.m.,  they scratch on my bedroom door and yowl like banshees, (or Gregorian Chant?).

Their message is clear.  "Dad, for goodness sake get up.  You left the house in a terrible mess last night.  Now clear it up.  And then give us breakfast.  We are starving".